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Deborah Cruz

Questions To Ask Before Getting A Family Dog

Dogs are awesome. We are dog people. To be fair, we love cats and guinea pigs and mostly all animals but dogs are our favorite. They can be excellent additions to any family. Saffaron, Lola and Stella are the best things that have happened to us. These furry friends stick by your side for their entire lives, giving you all the attention you need, through thick and thin, dogs just love you unconditionally. Honestly, humans don’t deserve dogs at all. They’re far too good for us; offering up all of their love without wanting anything but a few belly rubs and treats in return. 

Having a dog to yourself is one thing – it’s completely different if you want to get one for a family. When you have kids to think about as well, you can’t make a snap decision to just get a dog. A few key questions need to be asked and answered to help you figure out if this is the right move for you and your family. 

Do you have room for a dog?

Firstly, is there enough room in your house for a dog? You might have a relatively small home with a small backyard. It’s absolutely perfect for you and your family right now. There’s enough space for everyone, and the yard is just big enough for the kids to enjoy. 

Unfortunately, if you add a dog into the picture, the house seems a lot smaller. There’s no space for the dog to roam around during the day – particularly if it’s a fairly big one. You can’t really find anywhere to keep a dog bed and there’s certainly not enough room outside for your pooch to have a little house. 

Consequently, some families might be unable to handle a dog because there’s not enough room in the home. This does depend on the type of dog you’re thinking about getting – smaller ones don’t need that much room. However, we will talk more about dog breeds later on! 

Are you able to look after the dog?

How busy is your daily schedule? Are you packed to the brim with things to do every single day? If you already struggle to find time for yourself – which a lot of parents do struggle to do – then a dog may complicate things. Suddenly, you have another responsibility on your hands. 

Can you walk the dog regularly? Can you keep them groomed? Can you ensure they’re given all the attention they deserve? Can you afford to keep them fed, loved, and rewarded with treats when they need them? These things may not always be cheap or convenient to provide but you need to consider them. For example, you might think treats are not a necessity but Treatibles are great for training, and behavioral adjustments, some are good for joint pain, tummy issues and relieving anxiety.

Yes, you can argue that your kids should give them lots of attention. In reality, they are the ones that probably asked you to get a dog anyway! But, what if they are too young to walk the dog by themselves? They’re too little to give the dog a bath or even to feed it. So, all the responsibility falls on your shoulders. 

Okay, what if your kids are old enough to help you look after the dog. In this scenario, you still have to give them loads of attention when the kids are at school. There are many hours in the day when a dog will be left without your children to take care of it. Can you find the time in these hours to give them attention? If you work a full-time job, the answer will be a resounding no. 

Please, please, please take this into consideration before getting a dog for your family. As you can imagine, time is the number one reason people surrender dogs. Owners simply can’t find the time to give a dog the attention and care it deserves. Don’t be one of those people that gets a dog and has to give it up. It’s not nice for the dog to be taken to a new home, only to end up being abandoned at an animal shelter. 

If you want a family pet, but don’t have the time to devote many hours a day to that pet, think about getting a cat. They’re super low-maintenance and can be left for hours on end with no issues. As long as there’s water, food, and a cat flap, the cat is fine by themselves.

Why do you want a family dog?

Ask yourself, why do you want a family dog? It might seem like a strange question, but consider what has pushed you to think about bringing a furry friend to your family. Is this a decision you and your partner have been thinking about for a long time? Perhaps you had dogs before when you were growing up, and you’d love to have one for your new family to enjoy. That’s a perfectly viable reason to get a dog; you want a new addition to the family!

But, what if you’re getting one because your kids have pestered you about it. They’ve been saying they want a dog, so you’re finally thinking about caving in. If this isn’t something you and your partner are too keen on, don’t give in. 

It’s never a good idea to get anything because your kids really want it. Kids are kids, meaning they like different things all the time. They may love the idea of a dog right now, but will they still be as interested in a few weeks or months?

A dog is a long-term investment for you and your kids. Be sure that this isn’t just a phase before you decide to get one. 

Can you afford a dog?

After answering the previous questions, you’ve reached a pivotal point in the dog acquiring process. Can you actually afford the financial commitment that comes with owning a dog?

The initial costs will vary depending on how you get your dog. If you adopt, it’s completely free. If you purchase a dog from a breeder, prices depend on the specific breed of dog as well as the caliber of the breeder. 

However, these aren’t the main costs you should be worried about. Instead, you need to question if you can afford the ongoing costs of dog ownership. So, how much is this going to cost? Well, you should start by considering everything you need to buy: 

There’s a lot you need to think about, and the costs can add up to anywhere between $1,500 to $9,900 per year. That’s a lot of money that you might not be able to afford. Of course, it all depends on your financial situation. Some of you may do the calculations and figure out that you can definitely afford an extra mouth to feed. If that’s the case, you’re one step closer to owning a dog. 

If you can’t afford a dog, think about how you can save money to possibly get one in the future!

What dog breeds are good for kids/families?

You can financially afford a dog, but you’re still not ready to go out there and pick one up. Some dogs are better suited to families and young children than others. For the sake of your kid’s safety, you need to consider breeds that are suitable. Here are some of the options you should think about: 

Labrador retrievers

Labs are always popular family dogs because they have the perfect temperament for kids. They’re very patient, playful and full of love. As you can see on https://chocolatelabradorretriever.ca/lab-retriever-michigan/, you can get labrador retrievers in a range of colors, with chocolate labs being very popular these days. They do grow to be quite big, but they always retain a sense of playfulness that makes them perfect family companions. 

Boxers

Boxers are great medium-sized dogs, so they’re great to have around kids. There’s never any worry about the dogs knocking over young children, and they have a very fun-loving, bright and active demeanor that makes them ideal for a family setting. While originally a working dog, these dogs are constantly eager to play games and have fun outside. They’re a great option if you want a pet to occupy your kids for hours on end. 

Boston terriers

A small dog breed that works really well with families and children is Boston terriers. The great thing about Boston terriers is that they are pretty low-maintenance. They don’t need to be walked that much, and they’re more than happy to stay inside for hours a day. Make no mistake about it, this doesn’t mean they’re lazy creatures. They are still keen to play with your kids, they’re just easier to look after than many other dogs. 

Should you adopt or buy a dog?

The final question is whether or not you should buy a dog. It is a good idea to adopt whenever possible. However, if you are looking for a specific breed of dog – or you want a puppy from birth to raise in your family, buying from a breeder might be the better option.  After asking yourself all of these crucial questions, you will know if a family dog is the right choice or not. Furthermore, you should also know what breed of dog is the best, and whether or not you should adopt it. It is so important to think this decision through as carefully as you can. Don’t rush into things as it could mean you get a dog that ends of being put up for adoption very soon.

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things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastif

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A couple of months ago, we were doing our regularly scheduled visit to play with puppies because puppies make us feel better about life and life has been kind of shitty these past couple of years. When completely out of character, we impulse-bought a “Dogue de Bordeaux” which I think is French for expensive ass dog but still not as expensive as its much tinier but much more expensive little cousin, the French bulldog. Apparently, if your dog is French he’s going to be adorable, lovable and expensive. These are things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff if you’re nasty.

The thing is you know how when you just know something is right? Like my husband said he knew right away that I was “the one”, his “soul mate”. Well, we all felt the same way about Stella (our big, beautiful, playful, sweet, lovable French mastiff). The thing is when we bought her, we had no idea what kind of breed she was which is very out of character for our family because we like to research and plan the shit out of everything.

This may have been the most spontaneous thing we’ve done in the past decade because since we had children, we’re always thinking long-term and BIG picture but not on Friday, March 11. Nope, we fell head over paws in love with Stella Coco on the spot. The Big Guy was signing paperwork before the girls and I even knew what was happening.

things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff

The first couple of days, not going to lie, I was having major buyer’s remorse. Remember, no idea what the Dogue de Bordeaux was before deciding to bring her home. Once I got home and Googled Dogue de Bordeaux, I scared myself because she will be the biggest dog breed we’ve ever owned with the shortest life span and she needs a lot of love and attention. Did I mention she’s only 6 months old and eats 5 cups of food a day? The vet predicts 8 cups a day by the time she is full-grown.

I was intimidated because they are also known for being great family guard dogs but that’s never been what I looked for in a dog. Our dogs are like family members. TBH, I think the Big Guy and I gravitated towards this mastiff because of her HUGE paws. When our Bella was a baby, we called her Big paws and Stella the big paw French Mastiff shares our Bella’s gentle, giant, friendly disposition. How could we not bring her home with us, she was born to be a part of our family.

things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff

Things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux

  1. The DDB is an excellent companion, deeply devoted to her family. 23 hours of the day, she’s calm, affectionate, docile and steady. But for that one hour (at least in my experience, at the puppy stage) she can be needy, hyper and super playful but always loving. She also has a protective instinct and guards her family with courage like a boss b*tch. In my opinion, Dogues de Bordeaux are great for families with older children who won’t be easily knocked over or startled by this big dog that tends to hop when excited.
things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastif

Be warned, this gentle giant is not a pushover most of the time. Along with that mostly calm temperament comes a stubborn streak that will make a teenage girl seem easygoing, self-confident, and a tendency to dominate. However, in our house, she is very submissive to our much tinier and older Victorian bulldog, Lola. I’m not sure if it’s because Lola’s older, if it’s a doggie respect thing or if it’s the regal Bridgerton aura that Lola emits but Stell tens to just roll over and bear her belly for her big sis. Socialization and patient positive training are a must with Dogue de Bourdeauxs, much like myself, they can’t be forced to do anything. Start early—it’s easier to train a puppy than a DDB who may be bigger (and certainly stronger) than you are.

  • Dogues do very well at dog sports. While only moderately active, their willingness to learn and eagerness to please their owners make them adept at cart-pullingobedience and even therapy work.
things to know before getting a Dogue de Bordeaux, a French mastiff

Keep in mind, that exercise will tire them out so we’ve figured out that burning off some of that energy before bedtime (much like when we used to dance the sillies out with the girls) is the key to the whole family getting a good nights sleep.

  • Do not teach your cute 30 lb. puppy any habits that you wouldn’t want your 130 lb. DDB to have. We’ve always had medium-sized working dogs but never something as massive as our Stella is anticipated to be so our dog babies have always been lap dogs, even at 50 lbs. we’re made of sturdy stock but our pediatrician has assured us that this warning needs to be heeded or we will be the ones who suffer the consequences. She loves to sit on our laps, sleep across my teenager’s chest and cuddle in like she’s tiny. She is currently 60 lbs. at 7 months (honestly, she’s on the smaller size compared to other DDBs of the same age and we are fine with it) and she’s getting too strong for the girls and me to control or pick up so positive reinforcement is the trick in our house. She loves treats like they’re addictive.
  • These are tall like ridiculously tall. Our girl can stand up with her front paws at the height of our kitchen island. Did I mention
  • They drool. Apparently, they really, really drool! Our Stella is not as wrinkly as some of the others and has not started to drool uncontrollably yet. It’s coming though. She loves to fill her jaws with water and carry it across the house. Anyone who lives with a Dogue de Bordeaux quickly becomes familiar with strings of drool covering furniture, floors and walls. Be prepared that you may have to up your cleaning game. I know, sounds like a shit trade but I promise you, all the love that your French mastiff will give you will be worth every single slobbery kiss you endure. To know a dogue de Bordeaux is to love her sweet face, drool and all.
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Tired of Waiting Around? 6 Benefits of Learning to Do It Yourself, DIY

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand waiting around for other people to do things for me. I’m not sure if that’s the control freak in me, me being the oldest child of six, being a mom or my type-A personality poking through but whatever it is, I prefer to be able to do things for myself.  I love having people in my life that I can count on but I’m so independent that the occasion where I take advantage of having those people around, is few and far between. I pride myself on being capable, but I’m wise enough to also know my limitations.

As a homeowner, I’ve come to realize that every home is full of unexpected costs even if it’s a new build. Things come up that slowly but surely drain your savings accounts and sometimes, feel like a never-ending to-do list of repairs, replacements, cleaning, and just about everything else you can think of. If you’re like me, you’re probably tired (maybe even a little annoyed) of waiting around for the “handyman” (the Big Guy) to be available to do the things you need done.

Why keep waiting? If you’re reading this, you are a strong, capable woman who has probably grown and given birth to a human being, you can do hard things, Girl, you got this. Forget about waiting for someone else to do the things you want to be done. Learning to DIY is an excellent skill that means you never need to wait for someone else to do what needs to be done, ever again. You’re thinking, “But Debi if DIY is so simple, why isn’t everyone doing it?” Because some people prefer leaving things out of their wheelhouse to the professionals. I do too, in some instances. Let’s be honest, I can’t do everything.  But if I can do it right, I’m all about rolling up my sleeves and learning to do it myself. 

No More Waiting Around 

The best reason to learn to do it yourself is so you don’t have to wait around for someone else to do something you are completely capable of doing. You might be surprised at how many repairs around the house are actually pretty easy to fix, whether you need to replace door handles or fix the dryer heater element to make sure everyone’s clothes are ready in time for school or at the very least they don’t go sour. 

By taking a proactive approach to your home, you can overcome small issues quickly. You won’t need to put your life on hold while you wait for the repair company to come over, which means you can get on with it yourself and focus on the next repair. 

Save Money and Time 

Since you’re not waiting around any longer, you can save time, even if it takes you a little longer to repair it than it would a professional. Everyone has been there before where the repair company comes in, twists a nut or bolt, and leaves. You don’t need to waste their time (or your money) anymore.

This also makes saving money around the house so much easier. While some companies are happy to come out for free quotes, they will still charge you for the work and materials (especially with the price of gas right now) which is often much more than you’d have to pay if you did it yourself. 

Learn a New Skill

Learning a new skill is always a great way to boost your knowledge and help you feel better about yourself. With so many DIY tasks simpler than you think, it’s easy to expand your horizons. 

What’s more, as a student for life I can attest to the fact that the more you learn, the easier it is to learn other things, too. You can use your existing repair knowledge to identify different ways to approach problems around the house and fix them without causing significant damage. 

Pass the Knowledge onto Your Kids 

Parents always need to teach their kids how to survive in the real world. I mean they don’t even offer home ec in school anymore. And let’s be honest, without that class, most Gen X latch key kids might have starved to death. What would I have done without learning how to cook an egg in a basket and how to stitch and make my very own pillow? While our kids may not need DIY skills or other essential life skills right now, they will once they move out of our house, whether they go to college or find a place of their own on the other side of the country. 

Learning DIY skills gives you a great chance to pass your knowledge on to them. They don’t need to help you out all the time, but asking them to be your assistant and encouraging them to watch will give them the basic knowledge they need to approach DIY safely. They’ll know to switch the water off at the source while fixing pipes, and they’ll also know to turn off the mains so that they don’t electrocute themselves. They’ll also build self-confidence from being self-reliant and if all else fails, they’ll know they can call mama for some advice because mama can get things done.

You will Be More Active 

One under-appreciated benefit of DIY is how it can help you be more active. People often don’t think about all the heavy lifting or regular work, even if it doesn’t feel like hard work. 

If you wish you could be more active but don’t love going to the gym or running, DIY could be an excellent way to burn some calories and move, and the more projects you attempt, the more intense and ambitious your activities become. 

You Gain Respect 

People love people who know what they are doing, especially if you don’t look like you have a handy bone in your body. If you want to surprise friends and strangers alike, learning DIY and coming to their rescue is a solution that’ll make you popular. 

You might even be able to make some money off them once you show off your skills, as neighbors will be happy to pay you for your time, so they don’t need to wait around for the handyman.

Just Do It… Yourself

Learning DIY brings a wide range of benefits that can help your family just as much as it can help you. If you’re tired of waiting around for the handyman to get back to you and arrange an inspection or appointment, you can get ahead of all your home’s demands and upkeep by learning to fix common problems all by yourself, and you’ll be thankful you did. 

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gifts for new moms that aren't for the baby

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Becoming a mom is a privilege, just ask any mom but it is also exhausting and thankless and, did I mention, exhausting. Half the time you forget your own name because everyone refers to you as mom, mama, mommy or so-and-so’s (insert baby’s name here) mom.

If someone you love has become a mom for the first time, you probably want to give them a special gift to mark the occasion. A lot of gifts for new Moms are actually things for the baby. This can be helpful for Mom, but after a while, she might soon find she’s got more newborn baby stuff than she can use and feels as though her special occasion is more about the baby than herself. It can be lovely to give your new Mom loved one something that is purely for her, and not for her baby. 

Jewelry

If the new Mom you know is someone very special to you, like your spouse, partner, sister, or best friend, you could give her a beautiful piece of keepsake jewelry. Jewelry to commemorate something so special will always be sentimental to her. You could buy something like a beautiful necklace, or even have something custom designed just for her to really make a statement. Choose a stone, with help from the James Allen review from Pricescope, and a setting, and you have something she’ll always treasure. 

Gift Vouchers

Vouchers can be very good gifts as they give the receiver more choice. Think about what might be most appreciated by a busy, tired new Mom. You could give vouchers for their favorite local takeaway or food delivery service. Give vouchers for some pampering, whether it’s a pedicure or a full spa day. You could even make your own vouchers for things like an evening of babysitting, that she can cash in to have a date night with her spouse or an afternoon off to go shopping. 

Subscriptions

A subscription gift could be for something practical and useful, or something more fun for her. If you know she’s struggling to find time to cook, gift a recipe box subscription service that can make cooking quicker and simpler. You could gift a subscription to her favorite magazine so she has something to read when she’s up doing late-night feeds. What about a subscription for a flower delivery so something pretty arrives every month for her?

Coffee

Disrupted nights mean a tired mom. A lot of new Moms drink a lot of coffee, although if she’s breastfeeding, you should double-check with her how much she is able to have. A gift of some posh coffee that’s eco-friendly and gourmet like Steeped Coffee, a pretty mug to drink it out of, or a to-go cup to put her coffee in when she takes the baby out in the stroller will all be well-received. You can find beautiful cups that have clever technology in them to keep your drink warm without needing to use a thermos cup in the house. These are perfect for new Moms who struggle to drink a whole cup of coffee before it gets cold. 

At-home beauty and spa treatments

There is not a lot of free time when you have a newborn but that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to feel good and take care of yourself. Facemasks, at-home teeth whitening kits, lotions and serums, a foot spa or a great skincare system like Tarte’s Awake line, vegan and cruelty-free, is a favorite in our house.

Loungewear

As a new mom, clothing can often be decided by what can be put on quickest, is most comfortable, and is the cleanest. Make this easier for her by gifting her some stylish but comfortable loungewear. Comfortable leggings, yoga pants, or cardigans are all good choices.

As a mom, what is the number 1 thing that you’d want as a gift from family and friends?

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Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

I’m really trying to wrap my brain around what happened in Uvalde, Texas at Robb Elementary. I saw the news when it happened and, like many parents, I was triggered. You know, my kids are the same age as the Sandy Hook Elementary kids. I never forgot. I will never forget. I couldn’t even if I tried. But the more I learn about what transpired on Tuesday in Uvalde, the more tragic it seems and the more preventable it appears. I want to lay some hard truths on you guys. Those 19 children and 2 adults did not have to die. Where were the heroes? Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

Yes, Salvador Ramos pulled the trigger but it is the fact that we live in a country that allows 18-year-old children to purchase assault rifles that got us where we are today. Why are we allowing teenagers, who are hormonal, moody, full of angst and whose brains will not be fully developed until they are 25-years-old, to buy guns? How was he so easily able to buy two assault rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition? How were there no red flags? Push that aside for a moment, if you are wondering how this happened? Why this happened? How it was able to transpire? How Ramos was able to make it into the building to barricade himself in the room with helpless little kids and 2 teachers and no one stopped him? So are the rest of us.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos.

He posted on social that he was going to shoot his grandmother.

This boy shot his grandmother. Authorities were alerted.

He posted after he shot his grandmother.

He wrecked his truck. Authorities were alerted.

He posted before he entered the building.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

NO ONE STOPPED HIM.

He shot at people at the funeral home across the street from the school. Authorities were alerted.

He stood outside for 12 minutes and fired rounds. Authorities were alerted. Authorities were on the scene.

He is seen in a video walking into the building without anyone stopping him or trying to stop him or even in his line of sight.

 NO ONE STOPPED HIM.

He was outside for 12 whole minutes, that’s a lifetime in an active shooter event. Maybe he wanted to be saved from himself. No one did anything.

He gets in the building. Barricades himself inside for 40 fucking minutes. The authorities are captured on video standing outside the gates waiting on I don’t know what the fuck to happen while he is inside shooting peoples children.

Why did no one stop him??? Why?

There is video of parents begging the police to save their children. Pleading with authorities to serve and protect the most precious part of them. When their cries of desperation fell on deaf ears some of the parents were overcome with frustration and anger and lashed out…while they were listening to gunfire and knew their children were locked in Robb Elementary with a gunman while the authorities were safely outside awaiting what? Divine intervention.

Some of those parents were pushed away, handcuffed, arrested, threatened and forced to bear witness to the screams of fear from within not knowing if that was their child or if they would ever get to see their child again. They were made to stand still while their children were murdered. If you ask me, that was as cruel if not more so than what Ramos did.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

There is no doubt that Ramos did an evil thing. But he was an individual who had suffered cruelty the entirety of his short life. He was a product of a system that failed him too. But he chose to inflict the same pain he felt onto the world.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

But what if the authorities had acted sooner? What if those kids mattered to those officers as much as they mattered to their loved ones crying outside and listening to the wailing of the terrified children inside.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

It makes me wonder, what if this was a Caucasian neighborhood? What if this was an elite private school? What if these kids’ parents were influential and wealthy? What if they had power? What if they weren’t poor, humble migrant people? Would these kids’ lives have mattered more to the police if they weren’t brown?

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

So maybe you’re saying, fuck Debi why are you making this about race. I’m making it about race because everything is about race. If you don’t see color, then it’s more than likely that you are privileged. I grew up in an urban ghetto in a time when everyone had police scanners. They called my neighborhood LA (Little Africa), the white neighborhood where the poor kids lived was called ( Little Waco)  and where the Mexicans lived ( Little Mexico), if you lived in those neighborhoods and something happened and you needed the police…they came when they were ready. It made no difference that the police station was literally 3 blocks from my house.

I come from immigrants. My grandfather was a rancher. My father grew up on a farm. He came to the United States and worked in fields and factories. Mexican people are vibrant, passionate, loyal, loving, family-orientated people and we are humble. Even though we are loud, we are humble. We are hard workers, friendly and respectful. My dad loves the United States more than anyone I know and it’s been something I’ve had a hard time reconciling myself with because I’ve seen this country treat my dad like garbage. I’ve seen the people of this country treat my dad like he was stupid because his skin is brown and he has an accent. I’ve seen my proud father be dismissed because he didn’t look or sound like the person he was talking to. I know, firsthand, the disregard with which police officers treat brown and black boys and girls’ lives.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

Honestly, I pray that I’m wrong but I’m not sure that I am. Why did no one rush in to save those babies? Even the ones who survived will never return to who they were before they saw their friends and, in some cases, family massacred in front of their eyes, before they had to play dead to survive before they had to cover themselves in their classmate’s blood to stay alive.

Uvalde authorities stood by as parents begged them to save their children from a mass shooter, Salvador Ramos, uvalde victims, robb elementary

These beautiful brown babies have been failed by our government which they trusted to keep them safe. These parents have been failed by the very country they left their homes for. I know people want to be able to protect their homes from intruders, I get it, I told you I’m from ranchers. But no one without a fully developed brain, under the age of 25, or anyone not trying to mass murder humans needs an assault rifle unless they are in the military. We need to do something, we can’t just keep letting our children be mowed down in a spray of gunfire because the people we elect care more about NRA money than the lives of our children.

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salvador ramos, robb Elementary, uvalde texas, gun control, what happens tomorrow

19 second, third and fourth graders and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas were gunned down by an armed mass shooter, 18-year-old, Salvador Ramos a student at Uvalde High School. The massacre happened at Robb Elementary School, where children between the ages of 7 and 10 study, occurred at around 11:37 local time, this morning. Ramos was killed at the scene by police.

Uvalde is a small, close-knit community where moms typically walk their children to school. In a town filled with humble, hard-working people with a population of 16,000 residents, nearly 80% of the population is Hispanic.

Ramos bought two assault rifles just days ago when he turned 18. This morning, he shot his grandmother before his massacre at Robb Elementary. While he fled after shooting his grandmother, he got into a car wreck near Robb elementary and then ran into the school and started shooting.

His grandmother is still alive and receiving treatment in San Antonio.

salvador ramos, robb Elementary, uvalde texas, gun control, what happens tomorrow

Again, I am sitting here alone with my thoughts on a day when 19 children were gunned down in a Texas elementary school. Why? How? How do we allow this to keep happening? This morning, 21 families sent their loved ones to school and they will never see those sweet faces again. They will never feel the pull of those little outstretched arms around their necks. Never hear their laughter ring out at something silly. Never get to tuck them in and say good night ever again. Those parents will never get to watch their children grow up and become who they were meant to be because some asshole was able to easily get his hands on guns, walk into a school and snuff out those precious lives. We are all responsible. How many more children have to die? How many parents have to lose the most precious thing on this earth to them before we say no more?

salvador ramos, robb Elementary, uvalde texas, gun control, what happens tomorrow
Xavier Lopez

What makes me the most upset and angry is that 10 years ago ( and many times since) I found myself crying over other people’s children. I send my girls to school every morning since Sandy Hook afraid and praying that when I return to pick them up, they’re still alive. What the fuck kind of country do we live in? A country where Republicans care more in theory about unborn babies than they do about the safety of those children already living? A country where we believe it’s a political decision what women can and can’t do with their bodies, where we don’t respect a woman’s right to govern her own body but we believe it’s more important to coddle those who don’t understand the constitution and believe that every person is entitled to the right to bear assault weapons and callously and randomly murder our living, breathing children?

America, what are we going to do to protect our children? What are you willing to sacrifice to keep your child safe? I don’t know about you but there is nothing I wouldn’t sacrifice for mine. Our children go to school every day knowing that an active shooter is just as possible as a tornado. They have drills for both. Our children live in a world where they know that just existing puts them in peril and they know that some of you are willing to make that sacrifice, as long as you can keep your right to bear arms. What about my right to hold my child in my arms? What about every parent’s expectation to live their life loving their child and watching them grow up as we grow old?

My eyes are burning from crying. I held it in all day until my girls went to bed because I can’t let them see how terrified I am. How broken and raw the thought of losing them makes me. How my heart is shattered for the moms and dads who are going to bed tonight knowing that from this day on, their life will never be the same. From this moment on, they will be changed. There will be a hole in their life and a void in their hearts that will ache every minute of every day for the rest of their days. It will never get better. My heart breaks knowing that nothing will change and in a few days, there will be another shooting and someone else’s child will not be coming home and it will go on and on because we let it. Many Robb Elementary parents are still waiting to find out if their children are alive or dead.

No parent should have to lose their child in such a way and we have the power to stop it. We just need to prioritize our children’s lives above a right ( ironically, that was written into the constitution at a time in history when civilians needed to be at the ready to protect their families from enemies domestic and foreign because there was not a big enough army) to bear arms. We are no longer lacking sufficient armed forces. What we are lacking is humanity and general respect for the lives of others.

We don’t need to bear arms we need to raise better humans with fewer guns and more kindness and compassion. We need to condemn hatred and bigotry. We need to care more about people and less about being right or getting our way. We need to love more and be more tolerant of things, people and cultures we don’t understand. We need to destigmatize mental health and make it the norm to seek support. Most importantly, we need to protect our innocent children from being murdered while doing nothing other than existing.

I am angry because this was senseless and preventable. Yes, we could have stopped this. It’s the guns. The guns are readily available to anyone over the age of 18-years-old who wants one and can afford it. You say don’t give guns to the mentally ill. Do you think mentally ill people disclose they are mentally ill when trying to purchase a gun? No, in fact, since we live in a country that stigmatizes mental illness they simply avoid seeking help. That’s the protection plan. They don’t disclose. If the guns were not so easily accessible if it were more difficult to access firearms maybe the children of Sandy Hook would be going into their senior year next year. Maybe the babies at Robb Elementary would be heading off to summer vacations and camps and all the other things that little kids do in the summertime. Instead, 22 families will be planning funerals. 22 families will be crying themselves to sleep. 22 families have been broken like so many countless others at the hands of a man with a gun.

Who shoots little kids? What have they ever done to anyone? What is so wrong in your head to make a person want to shoot up random strangers (helpless children) because whatever is going on in their own lives isn’t easy? Most of us don’t have it easy. Life is hard and made exponentially harder when we have to constantly worry that something tragic and potentially dangerous can happen to any of us at any time, especially in a world that values getting their way over doing the right thing.

So please keep your thoughts and prayers, they won’t bring those babies back and they are of no comfort to those grieving parents. If you want to do something to change the narrative, lay down your guns. Implore your representatives to push for common-sense gun control. No one is hunting with an assault rifle. No one needs an arsenal of weapons at the ready. A child’s brain is not fully developed until 25-years-old, why are we allowing teenagers to buy assault rifles? Unless, an 18-year-old is in the armed forces, being taught how to properly use a weapon to protect his country, there is no reason he needs a gun. And in no world is owning a gun more important than children getting to live and grow up.

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back pain, sciatica, midlife

Well, it’s been a hell of a last few days. Of course, it’s May so what else did I expect? If the universe is not trying to break me, is it even May? Thursday, I fell down my stairs. Hello, sciatica, not so happy to see you again. My fall was dramatic like a full-on telenovela or someone threw me down our stairs (though it feels like it) but more accurately, our new, gigantic French Mastiff excitedly came down the stairs while I was heading down to refill my water bottle in the middle of the night. Well, if you’ve been here long, you know that at night or in inclement weather I walk like a f*cking pirate thanks to the hardware situation in my leg from the broken leg situation in 2015. Yep, it’s the f*cking gift that just keeps on giving.

My point is that I’m already unstable as it is and when an unexpected bull in a China shop comes running behind you in the dark, I’m more than likely going to end up on my ass and I did.

Disclosure: I was provided the Boppy® Multi-use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow for review purposes but my true love and opinion of this pillow are all my own.

Anyways, it was only about 4 stairs but my life did flash before my eyes because this is not the first time I’ve fallen and, more often than expected, I’ve ended up in the ER. I didn’t this time but, of course, it was no regular fall. In my desperation not to break more bones, I forgot my own “go limp b*tch” protocol and stiffened my entire body up. What happened you asked?

My feet were capoeira style swept out from beneath me thanks to aforementioned adorable, silent but deadly dogue de Bordeaux (big ass dog) and thanks to the carpet on the stairs, I lost my balance. I stiffened my arms trying to catch myself (as if I remember nothing from the 2020 broken toe/concussion situation) and at the same time, I broke my fall into the banister with my ribs while stiffening my legs, arm and entire right side of my body. I thought I escaped with minimal damage until the next day. I woke up pretty sore.

Oh no, bad timing. I had a second job interview at noon with the owner of a company that could prove to be a super exciting opportunity for me. I pulled on my big girl panties, a really cute outfit and sucked up any pain I was feeling. Did I mention the in –person interview went from being 2 people to 7-9, depending when you checked?  Did I mention I haven’t had an in-person interview in 17 years?

The unconventional interview lasted 5 hours (that’s a post for another day) but I wasn’t actually surprised because the first one lasted 6 hours. But for the 5 hours, I was sitting in a typical office chair, super uncomfortable. About hour 3 I started using my left hand as a chin rest because I was actually trying to feign interest in someone else’s interview that I ended up a part of. I think I must have kept it there for about 2 hours. After 5 hours, I tried to stand up and my sciatica said, “F*ck you, Debi. Sit your ass back down!” But I had to go because it had been a long, weird day and I had eaten nothing all day so I was ready to eat the face off of the next person who looked at me.

I got in my car and as I drove, I knew the damage had been extensive and the weekend was going to be for recuperating. As soon as I got in my car, I realized that my left hand that was supporting my face for 2 hours, had tingling in my pinky and ring finger. OMG, did I have a stroke during my interview? I figured it just fell asleep under the weight of my chunky face and double chin. Only the pins and needles gave way to numbness.

By the time, I reached home, I could barely get out of my SUV because my sciatica nerve pain was so intense. I slowly grandpa walked into the house and barked at my poor husband to get us some dinner, as I put the heating pad on my back and prayed the damage wasn’t permanent. I felt about 100 years old. I started to get worried because the funky feeling in my fingers was not getting any better.

Well, it’s been three days. The feeling just came back in my fingers today. It’s an ulnar nerve injury from when I dislocated my elbow trying to do some manual labor in my yard that is acting up. It’s basically a pinched nerve that shows up occasionally t keep my humble.

However, my lower back sciatica pain that started when I was pregnant with the girls has its own plans. I’m currently trying to find a way to position myself to not want to kill myself from the pain. The only thing that seems to work is the Boppy® Multi-use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow it’s a one-piece pregnancy pillow that can be used in multiple ways ( well beyond pregnancy, as I am almost 15 years postpartum) to make you and your growing baby bump ( or your regular mom belly) more comfortable. Its unique contoured design supports your body head-to-toe. That boppy has been my saving grace these last few nights. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to get comfortable enough to fall asleep.

Well, that was my weekend. How was yours? Did you enjoy every moment of it or was it too short and filled with obligations?

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How to Keep Your Shit Together while Busy Taking Care of Everyone Else, how to protect your mental health while taking care of everyone else

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

These past few weeks of motherhood have been thus far some of the hardest ever. Shit has happened that no one teaches you about in the parenting books. I’ve studied the whole of the DSM and I still couldn’t have been prepared, as a mother, for the kind of emotional toll that has been taken on me. That’s why I’m realizing how to protect your mental health while taking care of everyone else is so important for parents.

You know there are things you expect, in the back of your head, in the bottom of your heart and right there in the pit of your stomach. Things that you know can happen, like all those terrible side effects they warn you of when you are taking the drugs that will save your life. You take them anyways because living is more important than having the shakes. Well, my friends, this shit was not on the warning label when I got pregnant. Or maybe it was and I chose not to believe it.

I have been struggling with mental illness since the teen years. There is a whole list of disorders and illnesses that I can speak of at length and in-depth. That should have been a red flag to me that maybe I needed to be a little more prepared for what could happen if the girls got triggered. But, I thought, I’ve got this. I found my way out of the darkness. It’ll be fine. And it was until it wasn’t anymore.

In my teen years, my mind was held hostage in a dark abyss. I couldn’t find my way out or at least it felt like I couldn’t but, true to Debi fashion, one step at a time, one moment at a time, I survived. Barely. Even though there were days when it was so painful to be alive that I prayed something or someone would kill me because I couldn’t do it myself and hurt my mom. She was my savior and she had no idea of the dark thoughts that were infiltrating my brain. It’s probably better that way. But I know.

In those days, it hurt to breathe because it felt counterintuitive and I cried more tears than I thought were even possible. But, my childhood was tumultuous to put it nicely. A lot of bad shit happened to me and when you’re a kid, you can only take so much before you break. Or so I thought. I’m more resilient than I ever imagined because I never actually broke, I just bent as far as my child mind and body could.

I promised myself that I would never allow that to be my daughters’ stories. They would live a “normal” life. As if I even know what that looks like. I promised myself they would never be triggered and I thought I could protect them from my same fate. But I was wrong. There are some things we can’t actually stop from happening, no matter how hard we try or how ‘good’ we are at this parenting thing. Maybe this is why I feel like such a fraud when people compliment me. I know the truth. There are simply some things that are beyond our control. That’s a hard and bitter pill for this recovering smother mother to swallow.

How to protect your mental health while taking care of everyone else is a hard, but imperative, balance to find

Today, I took my daughter to her first adolescent group therapy session. Never expected that to be a milestone. She almost cried when I left her. I almost cried when I left her in a room full of strange kids in their own turmoil. Is this a good idea? Is she going to get ideas or learn bad habits? But isn’t this supposed to help her live? All that matters is that she makes it through, by any means possible. She is the most important thing in my life. She and her sister are truly my entire reason why.

A couple of weeks ago, her depressive episode got so bad that I could see her slipping into that same dark abyss that I used to live in. I lived there for years. I honestly thought I’d never escape. I resigned myself to living there alone with my pain until it killed me. For me, it started at 12-years-old with body dysmorphia, then the major depression and suicidal ideations started around freshman year of high school, onto eating disorders beginning around 17 ( bulimia then anorexia with extreme exercising), and ultimately a diagnosis of bipolar 1 when I spent most of my college years and my mid 20’s manic AF. I didn’t have my first panic attack until I was 35-years-old but according to my psychiatrist, anxiety was there first.

As a child, I was prone to terrible stomach aches that landed me in the emergency room on more than one occasion. That’s how little Debi’s anxiety from living with an abusive, alcoholic father first manifested. But I learned quickly, around 7-years-old, how to develop my coping mechanisms. I’m a counter. It worked for years until my husband lost his job when I was 35. #mommysfirstpanicattack Yep, if I’m anxious and talking to people (pushing through my anxiety) I’m probably counting every word you are saying and all the letters in the words.  I know I’m an extrovert but I also have my limits. I didn’t even realize I counted or what it meant until about a year into my therapy. Did I mention now ADHD is on the table? Aye aye aye. Like seriously, what the actual fuck?

Anyways, most if not all of these things are in control ( save for a little mania that gets triggered when I’m under duress…you know like when you’re dealing with the guilt and pressure of passing along your fucked up brain chemistry to your children). You have not had mom guilt of this level if you haven’t genetically fucked your kids up. It is a special kind of hell because it is in fact my fault. I’ve been crying about this a lot lately.

Right now, I’m trying to keep my shit together while putting out a seemingly unlimited amount of mental health trash fires over here daily. It’s a lot. I’m overwhelmed. I’m triggered and I’m trying my best to do what’s best for everyone, especially my girls. I thought I was holding it together. I mean I know that on the inside, I’m falling apart but I thought on the outside, I was taking care of business. I think I am for the most part but I’m neglecting myself. I know this because the other days while I was sobbing about my daughter’s mental health crisis, I could hear my pressured speech and feel my pressured thoughts machine-gunning out of my head and my husband gave me a hug and said, “But Debi, you haven’t looked happy for a while.” And he’s not wrong. I’m too overwhelmed and exhausted and scared to be happy because what right do I have when my children are in pain?

That’s how I know that I need to step back, take inventory and do whatever I need to do to get my own mental health in order. Because skipping myself isn’t doing any favors for my children or my husband. In fact, I’m adding to the pile of neverending trash fires currently going on. Look, I’m not complaining. This is me processing. I write, that’s how I survive. If you’ve ever wondered why my feeds are not perfectly curated, it’s not because I don’t know that it’s what people want its because I refuse to live a lie. My battle with eating disorders made me a liar for about 8 solid years. You have to lie to hide the fact that you are slowly killing yourself from the people who love you. If not, they will stop you from your slow suicide. And I preferred to exile myself from everyone than to let them know how truly vulnerable and pathetic I was. I spent so many years striving for perfection and I’m still a fucking relentless overachiever. It’s just who I am. If I stop moving I die. But now, with years of therapy and doing the work to not only understand my disease but myself, I will never silently suffer again and I don’t want that for my daughters either. I never want them to feel that alone and afraid to live. So how do I protect my mental health while taking care of everyone else? I have to be vigilant that I take care of myself first or I won’t be able to take care of anyone else. I know from a mom’s perspective, it sounds very selfish but it’s not. It is giving myself permission to heal so that I can help the people I love the most heal and get the help they need with my full support.

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Dangerous Things You Probably Shouldn’t Let Your Children Do

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

As a mom, you want to do everything you can to protect your children, but sometimes, it’s not obvious that the thing they want to do could have some hidden risks and actually be harmful to their health and wellbeing. You know they shouldn’t play with matches or miss their shots, but there are less obvious dangers that you might miss.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some dangerous things you should probably not let your children do that you might not even be aware of:

Play music loudly

There is obviously nothing wrong with letting your kids enjoy music, but if they are using earbuds, then you should make sure that they keep the volume on the lower side to avoid potential ear loss. You can also protect the hearing of small children by wearing ear defenders if they plan on attending concerts with loud music. The whole family can still have fun, but in such a way that it will not be detrimental to their hearing.

Don’t let them play with dangerous toys

You could be forgiven for thinking any toy you buy at the store is totally safe for your child but that is not necessarily the case. Many toys contain small parts like button batteries and safety pins, which can be really dangerous if they come off and your child eats them, so as a parent, you should always check out the safety credentials of toys before you give them to your kids.

Don’t keep them out of the dirt

Okay, so this is not really dangerous so much as counterintuitive. If you try to keep your child pristine at all times, it could actually be bad for their health. Kids need exposure to a little dust and dirt to help them build strong immune systems, so although you should not let them play unsupervised in dirty areas, letting them get a bit muddy in the yard now and again is fine, and may actually help them.

Do not spoil them

It may seem harmless enough to give your kids everything they want when they are young, but I certainly did. But it could be causing mental health problems for them in the future when they do not get everything they want.

Kids who are spoiled find it harder to make friends, harder to deal with rejection and more difficult to be resilient, which can lead to anxiety and depression as they get older and realize that not everyone will spoil them as much as you do.

Don’t let them have secrets

It might seem harmless enough to encourage your kids to keep it secret that you ate cookies for lunch or whatever, but you need to bear in mind that some secrets are actually pretty dangerous and by encouraging them to keep a harmless one, you might make it easier for predators to encourage them to keep bad secrets too, Always be honest and open.

If you don’t let your kids do any of the above, then they will be less likely to get into difficulties and their well-being will be much better as a result.

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5 ways to relax at night, chill out, get ready for bed

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Do you have trouble winding down at night? An endless list of things show up in your brain right at the exact moment you’re supposed to be drifting off to LaLa land? If so, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, millions of people have difficulty relaxing and getting ready for bed. I’ve been an insomniac since college so I know a little bit about this topic. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help yourself calm down, relax and prepare for sleep. This blog post will discuss 6 ways to relax at night, chill out and get ready for bed. 

Disclosure: Some of the products mentioned in this post were sent to me for review purposes. All opinions and gynecological misadventures are all my own.

Listen to calm music

There is something about music that can soothe us and make us feel more relaxed. So if you’re struggling to wind down at night, try listening to some calm music. This can help you relax both your mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep.

Some suitable genres of music to listen to for relaxation purposes include classical, jazz, and nature sounds. Many apps and websites offer calming music specifically designed to help you sleep. 

Do some gentle stretching 

Gentle stretching is another great way to relax your body and mind before bed. It can help relieve tension and reduce stress. You can do several different stretches, so find ones that work best for you. Start by doing some simple neck and shoulder rolls. Then, move on to other body areas such as your back, legs, and arms. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds before moving on to the next one.

Doing some light stretching before bed can also help improve your sleep quality and reduce the risk of pain waking you up during the night.  But don’t do a full cardio workout unless you want that rush of endorphins at bedtime. Be warned it won’t bode well for your insomnia.

Sit outside for a while  

If you have trouble relaxing indoors, try spending some time outside. Sitting or lying down in a park or other green space can help reduce stress and anxiety. I keep a comfy sectional on my deck for just this reason. The fresh air and natural light can also do wonders for your sleep quality. If it’s not possible to sit outside, simply open a window to let some fresh air into your room. You can also try smoking marijuana outside if it helps you to relax. But you might want to invest in this spray to get rid of weed smell and keep the neighbors out of your business. Or just go the edible route, no nasal evidence left behind.

Take a relaxing bath 

There is nothing quite like a warm bath to help you relax at night. Add some soothing aromatherapy, add a few drops of lavender oil to your bathtub or light a delicious smelling candle to help further promote relaxation. One of my favorites is GYV MesoAmerican Beauty Mango pineapple candle. The heat from the water can also help reduce muscle pain and tension. Soak in your tub for 20-30 minutes to give yourself enough time to relax fully. Moisturize yourself from head to toe. I love the Mango lotion from GYV. For luxuriously attractive and beautiful glowing skin I’m obsessed with Dignity Coconuts lip balms and raw coconut oil.

After your bath, avoid any activities that will stimulate your mind or body. This means no working, watching TV, or using your phone or computer. You want your body and mind to be relaxed, so give yourself time to wind down before bed. 

Pop a gummy

IYKYK if you don’t, I’m definitely talking about a CBD gummy. Just 1 Inflamade Yummy Watermelon Vegan Sleep Solution gummy and you will sleep all night long. Deep Sleep CBD + CBN Vegan Gummies combine the power of CBD + CBN – and works to put your mind at ease and sleep throughout the night. With 20mg CBD + 5mg CBN, and 3mg Melatonin per watermelon gummy, products are lab tested to ensure 0% THC and 100% Drug Test Safe.

The compounds CBD and CBN have different impacts on the body, but when combined, they aid in alleviating restless nights and insomnia.

If you are looking for something with THC to relax your mind before bed and get a great night’s sleep, I highly recommend Berry Burst Indica Gummies by Encore Edibles at your local dispensary. It’s one of my personal favorites for overwhelmed and exhausted moms who just can’t relax. It does the job 100% of the time.

Practice some deep breathing exercises: 

Deep breathing is a simple but effective way to relax your body and mind. It can help reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve sleep quality. To do a deep breathing exercise, simply sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and focus on taking slow, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough to expand your stomach, not just your chest. 

All this to say, there are many things you can do to relax at night. By listening to calm music, doing some gentle stretching, spending time outside, taking a relaxing bath, and practicing deep breathing exercises, you can wind down and get ready for a good night’s sleep. 

These are 5 ways to relax at night, chill out and get ready for bed. What is your top tip for relaxing at night?

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